The Astros are sorry for promoting a luncheon featuring the late Joe Niekro

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Look, I understand it was a mistake, and I understand why the Astros are apologizing. All I’m saying is that a lunch with the late Joe Niekro would be really, really cool:

The Astros have apologized for a post on the team’s Facebook page that said Astros career pitching victories leader Joe Niekro, who died in 2006, would attend the Astros’ Legends Weekend luncheon next weekend.

According to a screen grab of the page archived at Deadspin.com, the team on Saturday noted the Sept. 15, 1985 anniversary of Niekro’s trade from the Astros to the Yankees for three players, including pitcher Jim Deshaies and Jose Cruz’s 2,000th career hit.

Having lunch with Jim Deshaies is still OK. I guess.

Blue Jays release John Axford

John Axford
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The Blue Jays have released right-handed reliever John Axford from his minor league contract, per an announcement on Saturday. Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi speculates that the move could provide an avenue for the club to rework Axford’s contract, but the Blue Jays have yet to confirm or deny the report.

Axford, 35, was dealt a blow on Thursday after getting diagnosed with a stress reaction in the olecranon bone of his right elbow. Elbow soreness dogged the right-hander through much of his time in camp, and although he was scheduled for a follow-up examination later this spring, a definite return date had not been established.

Prior to the diagnosis, Axford was tabbed for a setup role with the team in 2019. He pitched to mixed results in 2018 (thanks in part to a late-season fracture of his right fibula) with a 5.27 ERA, 4.9 BB/9, and 9.8 SO/9 through 54 2/3 innings with the Blue Jays and Dodgers. Now, however, it’s not certain that he’ll return to the mound this season in any capacity.

Axford isn’t the only reliever the Blue Jays have lost to injury lately, either, as right-handers Ryan Tepera and Bud Norris have been sidelined with right elbow inflammation and forearm fatigue, respectively. Per Davidi, the Blue Jays offered Norris a $100,000 retention bonus to prevent him from opting out of the minor league contract he signed in February.